El Camino: Day 18 (Carrion de los Condes to Moratinos)

Posted on 01 October 2012 by christie

The Long Road

The long 30 kilometer day ahead

This particular section of the Meseta is extremely desolate with very few villages, restaurants or places to stay. We had to make some hard decisions since the towns are so spread out and there is a lot of ground to cover between Burgos and Leon. We opted to make two long 30 kilometer days back to back. It didn’t help all the stores are closed in Carrion de los Condes on Sunday. We didn’t have any food for the first 17 kilometer stretch of nothingness to Calzadilla de la Cueza.

Resting Pilgrims

Pilgrims taking a rest after the longer 17 km stretch of nothingness

On our way out of town, Dee Anne flagged us down to have some coffee in a local cafe. We walked with her for the first 4 kilometers out of town, and then she fell back taking some alone time. We were all in good spirits as Dee Anne decided to try our idea to listen to an audiobook while walking. Like many of us, she’s been having a rough time physically and emotionally on the Camino. Today in particular could easily be torturous as we were mostly just walking into emptiness. There is not much distinct scenery or towns. Just you, the open road, nature and other pilgrims. You really need to dig deep inside yourself and make the journey positive on your own. This can become challenging at times as our minds like to wander into negative thoughts about the past or future. We have been making a conscious effort to be in the present and notice the life and nature all around us.

Pilgrim Shadows

Shadows of us pilgrims on the Camino road

We are starting to see many familiar faces on a daily basis, but also newcomers. Pilgrims are joining the Camino route as we get closer to Santiago. Some have already accomplished stretches of the Camino, while others are planning a shorter experience than those of us who started in St. Jean. Regardless, the Camino fraternity is like a family that’s growing everyday. We really miss Emily and Katherine and constantly wonder if they will rejoin us at some point in our journey to Santiago de Compostela.


Yummy vegetarian soup and tortilla sandwich for lunch after our long 17 kilometer stretch to Calzadilla de la Cueza. Now only 13 more km to go for the day

Brett met a German named Kurt who just flew in from Munich. He landed in Barcelona, then took a train to Bilbao before beginning his Camino in Burgos. He’s an accomplished tennis player in his late sixties. Only just a few days in, he is experiencing extreme physical ailments. Brett asked if he was planning to finish in Santiago and he didn’t seem hopeful given his current state. We’ve realized how fortunate we are to both be in good health. Many people start the Camino with high hopes of making it in a certain amount of time to Santiago. Several people we met (or heard about) are having a difficult time physically………… and, either have to prolong their journey or stop and go home.

Bicycling along the open road

Bicycling along the open road

The first 17 kilometer stretch went by faster than we expected. We reached Calzadilla de la Cueza by noon. Packed with pilgrims, we found the only bar in town and ordered some vegetable soup with egg sandwiches. Many pilgrims were staying the night there, but we still had to carry on for another 13 kilometers to Moratinos. In a way this last 13 kilometers seemed longer as our feet were sore and losing steam. Brett and I passed the time by talking about our new life back in San Francisco. I was having a bit of anxiety thinking through my daily work life. Brett made me feel better as we discussed starting our family and focusing on developing new skills around our future family business.

Fabbi Italian dinner

Home-cooked Italian dinner at our Albergue

Before we knew it our dead feet carried us to Moratinos. The village consists of only a few dozen abandoned buildings, with one hostel, one Albergue and 31 residents. We could be shot here and no one would know for days. But, we are not scared as we have an Italian family hosting us at Albergue de Peregrinos San Bruno. I think we are in safe hands.

We had a pleasant home-cooked Italian dinner with Al and Ronda, as well as a new friend Martinys. To our pleasant surprise, he is from Kaunas, Lithuania…. one of our favorite countries! Of course, we were super excited to talk to him about our love of Lithuania over wine, pasta pesto and tiramisu.

Early bedtime tonight…… we have to get ready for another 30 kilometer scamper to El Burgo de Ranero!

See our Photo Album:
El Camino: Day 18 (Carrion de los Condes to Moratinos)

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